Great Palace

Marli Palace

Summer Residences of the Tsars:
  • Petrodvorets (Peterhof)
  • Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)
  • Pavlovsk
  • Gatchina
  • The Outer Regions

    St. Petersburg now extends well to the north and south of the original delta site, with arms of growth extending westward along the banks of the Gulf of Finland. The newer outer suburbs include extensive open areas, which help to reduce the overall population density, and parts of the periphery are designated as greenbelt. However, the multiplicity of large housing blocks containing numerous two- or three-room apartments means that population densities in the built-up areas remain extremely high. As in virtually all modern cities, commuting over long distances is the price paid for more living space and the cleaner air of the suburbs. Among the suburbs noteworthy for their historic and cultural value are Petrodvorets, Pushkin, Pavlovsk, and Gatchina.


    The most famous of the communities around St. Petersburg is Petrodvorets (Peterhof before 1944), whose unique garden-park setting, stretching in terraces rising above the Gulf of Finland, contains representative works from two centuries of Russian architectural and park styles. The Great Palace, the former residence of Peter the Great, stands at the edge of the second terrace, its bright yellow walls contrasting with white stucco decorations and the gilt domes of its lateral wings. Built in the Baroque style (1714-28), it was reconstructed and expanded by Rastrelli from the mid-1740s to the mid-1750s. On the north the building commands a view of the Grand Cascade, a grandiose structure including a grotto, 64 fountains, and two cascading staircases, which lead to an enormous semicircular basin that contains a giant statue of Samson wrestling with a lion. This statue, symbolizing the military glory of Russia, is a copy of the original statue by Mikhail I. Kozlovsky, which was carried off by the Nazis during World War II. In fact, much of the town's treasure was plundered, and this magnificent vista becomes all the more remarkable when it is remembered that much of it is a post-World War II restoration.

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